Conservation of food tree species in Niger: towards a participatory approach in rural communities

Dolores Agúndez Leal, Soumana Douma, javier Madrigal, Almudena Gómez-Ramos, Barbara Vicenti, Ricardo Alía, Ali Mahamane


Aim of study: Indigenous woody species play an important role as a complement on the diet of rural populations in Niger, especially in periods of food scarcity. However, these species are nowadays overexploited and management programmes are necessary to conserve them. In order to design a conservation programme for edible woody species, this paper presents a sociological analysis about the use of edible woody species and their products during shortage periods in Niger.

Area of study: Four villages in two distinct agro-ecological regions were selected to conduct structured enquiries based on focus group discussions and surveys with key informants.

Material and Methods: Perceptions of the conservation status of these species were identified; as well the factors affecting food values, perceptions, management and collection practices.

Main results: Results show that B. senegalensis was a staple food in the driest areas, and M. crassifolia was used for fodder and human consumption in the most critical situations. The local communities related the drivers of species conservation status specific to the agro-ecological regions, and gender and ethnic differences were also identified.

Research highlights: Understanding these factors constitutes a first step towards adaptive management strategies for the conservation of woody food species in rural communities of Niger.

Keywords: Africa; biodiversity; cultural preferences; food; NTFPs.


Africa; biodiversity; cultural preferences; food; NTFPs.

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2016253-09558